Debating Development

Course Code :9009UAOOUD
Study domain:
Academic year:2017-2018
Semester:1st semester
Contact hours:30
Study load (hours):84
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 1st semester
Lecturer(s)Danny Cassimon
Janus Verrelst
Mathias De Roeck
Mollie Gleiberman
Sarah Vancluysen
Gabi Sonderegger

3. Course contents *

This annual series of eight debates has the intention to expose students and the interested public to contemporary development topics. We offer a platform for reflection on current topics in the field of development to a broad public. Each topic is introduced on the basis of a presentation by a renowned speaker. A discussant sets the stage for further debate. Our guest speakers come from international institutes, civil society and academia. Most of the discussions will be moderated by the academic staff of the University of Antwerp.

Students are not expected to be debaters themselves. They are actually the spectators of the debates, but there is room for questions and critical remarks. The focus of the course is on the academic content.

As we put a strong emphasis on the academic content, we aim at a nuanced approach to the topics.

Every year we select a different central theme. The previous years we covered democracy, urban development and the Sustainable Development Goals. During the academic year 2017-18 we work on natural resources and development. We chose for "Debating Development 2017: the global resource grab?" as the title of this edition. Natural resources are substances such as minerals, forests and water that occur in nature and can be used for economic gain. The rise of global consumption comes with a growing need for countries and companies to access resources, which are often located in developing countries. How does the global South deal with this assumed advantage? Does it benefit the well-being of all people? And how can the exploitation and use of resources be made more sustainable?

Programme 2017 (you find more information about this year's programme on our website:

Tuesday 10 October: Natural resources in the 21st century
Hany Besada (Diamond Development Initiative International - University of Ottawa)
Stefaan Anrys (MO* Magazine)

Tuesday 17 October: Large dams for development: reality or myth?
Harry Verhoeven (Georgetown University, Qatar)
Daniëlle Hirsch (Both Ends, the Netherlands)
Steven Van Passel (Applied Economics - UAntwerp)

Tuesday 24 October: Artisanal diamond mining and opportunities for development
Gavin Hilson (University of Surrey)
Mark van Bockstael  (Chair Working Group of Diamond Experts - Kimberley Process)
Sara Geenen (IOB - UAntwerp)

Tuesday 7 November: A smart what? Investigating the global impact of ten years of smartphones
Manfred Santen (Greenpeace Germany)
Gerrard Fisher (QSA)
Filip Reyniers (IPIS International Peace Information Service)

Tuesday 21 November: The struggle against poaching: a problem of enforcement?
Bram Büscher (Wageningen University)
Olivia Swaak-Goldman (Wildlife Justice Commission)
Sofie Ruysschaert (WWF)

Tuesday 28 November: The next Asia? Globalization, dependence and African development
Ian Taylor (University of St. Andrews)
Alice Nicole Sindzingre (SOAS University of London)
Tom De Herdt (IOB - UAntwerp)

Tuesday 5 December: Low-value, low-conflict? Mining ‘neglected’ development minerals
Daniel Franks (UNDP, ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme)
Charlotte Christiaens (CATAPA)
Sara Geenen (IOB - UAntwerp)

Tuesday 12 December: Payments for ecosystem services: gambling on nature?
Gert van Hecken (IOB - UAntwerp)
Kahlil Baker (Taking Root)
Johan Bastiaensen (IOB - UAntwerp)

To give you an idea of the course materials: the executive summary of the African Development Report 2007 - Natural resources for Sustainable Development in Africa (pp. xv – xxv) has a good overview of some key concepts and vocabulary terms that you should know. The report is based on African experience but is generalizable. Another good report is Overconsumption - Our use of the world's natural resources (Friends of the Earth, 2009), which you can find here:  

Join the debate on social media

Enter the debates online by using #debdev on Twitter or on Facebook.

Get involved in student participation for development

The University Foundation for Development Cooperation (USOS) offers a wide range of on-campus activities on development. Go to and join us.